The Netherlands showed character after an extremely weak start, but as expected Spain were too strong for the EHF EURO debutants, winning 36:25. Thanks to their third victory from three matches, the defending EHF EURO champions won the group in Trondheim and take two points to Vienna, where the main round will start on Thursday.
- Spain won all matches in Trondheim by a difference of at least seven goals
- the defending champions start their main round mission against the group B runners-up, who will be confirmed on Tuesday
- the Dutch EHF EURO debut ended on third position by two points
- best scorers were Kay Smits with eight for the Netherlands and Jorge Maqueda with six for Spain
- Smits finished his first ever EHF EURO with 22 goals
Netherlands vs Latvia 25:36 (13:17)
By the 21st minute of the match you might have been forgiven for leaving the area, such was Spain’s lead – but anyone who did so would have missed one of the greatest goals so far of the EHF EURO 2020.
The story of the first half in brief: Spanish goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales, later-on awarded player of the match after a total of 20 saves, stood like a wall; the Dutch players were like rabbits in headlights for 22 minutes; and the deal was sealed early on.
Yet the Netherlands’ match-play got better and better, proving that their win against Latvia on Saturday was no fluke.
A few seconds before the half-time buzzer, the fans in the Trondheim Spektrum saw the so far best goal of this competition, a magic in-flight goal from the wing position by Jeffrey Boomhouwer for the half-time score of 13:17.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 13, 2020
The second half was nice to see for the fans, but everything was decided. The Spaniards had full control of the match, but the Dutch side managed to prove that they were deserved EHF EURO participants, before they fly home on Tuesday.
Dutch head coach Erlingur Richardsson was satisfied with his team's peformance, despite the loss, pointing out the gulf of experience between the two sides.
"Spain are like a magical team in attack, they know exactly what to do," Richardsson said. "But despite the defeat we are really happy with most things we did in Trondheim. We will use this experience for the future and want to get better. We are not close to the best six teams in Europe, but we get closer.”
Spanish coach Jordi Ribera said it could have been difficult to stay focused after the win against Germany, but that his team had improved through the match.
Centre back Daniel Sarmiento said the team was happy with the winning margins they had achieved in the preliminary round.
“We’re not going to cry about it, are we?" he said. "It means that we remain serious and focused throughout all our games. We play against good teams, but we really play our best handball at the moment.”